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Asia-pacific

Iran rules out talks on 'undeniable' nuclear rights

Video by Oliver FARRY

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-07

Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ruled out any discussion on Iran's "undeniable" nuclear rights at the beginning of a week-long meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog, but insisted Iran would discuss "the peaceful use of atomic energy".

AFP - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday ruled out talks on Iran's "undeniable" nuclear rights, insisting that any dialogue on the nuclear issue would focus on "cooperation on peaceful use of atomic energy" and "non-proliferation."

"In our view the nuclear question is finished. We will not negotiate over Iran's undeniable rights," the hardliner told a Tehran news conference.

"What we have announced is cooperation in two parts: cooperation on peaceful use of clean atomic energy and preventing a proliferation of atomic weapons."

He underlined Tehran's stand just hours before the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors gathered in Vienna for a meeting expected to focus on continued Western allegations that Iran seeks to produce nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad also said that the Islamic republic was ready for talks in what he called a "fair and logical" framework, and that he was willing to hold a public meeting with US President Barack Obama in the presence of mass media.

He suggested that this could take place at the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.

Iran is due to present a set of proposals to world powers which have offered talks over its controversial nuclear programme but also threatened further sanctions if negotiations fail.

"Our package of proposals is in response to their request of resuming talks," added Ahmadinejad.

Western powers, especially the United States and its ally Israel, accuse Tehran of pursuing efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

The Jewish state is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, albeit undeclared.

Iran insists that its own programme is purely peaceful.

Ahmadinejad told European countries and the United States to "climb down from fragile glass towers," "change their attitude" towards Iran and "recognise nations' rights."

"They will not benefit from continuing previous policies. But we are prepared for both states," he said.

The president also said Tehran would continue its cooperation with the IAEA, a reference to the fact that the country has granted UN inspectors access to a research reactor in Arak.

In his latest report on the IAEA's six-year investigation into Iran's controversial programme, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei complained that one of the main sticking points remained Tehran's refusal to cooperate on the issue of the so-called alleged studies.

This comprises documentation from intelligence sources that suggest Iran was trying to develop a nuclear warhead.

Iran has repeatedly dismissed the allegations as "baseless" and described the evidence used to support the charges as "fabricated."

Tehran insists that Washington's intelligence on the alleged weaponisation studies is forged, and says the United States has not handed over any original documents to back up its accusations.

Date created : 2009-09-07

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